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Another UK Yard to bite the dust

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  #26  
Old 18th August 2019, 20:19
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I find it incredibly sad that that whole area (both the Shorts factory and H&W) are no longer producing anything tangible - I can remember that I used to look at the place in awe whenever entering or leaving Belfast while serving on Northern Ireland Patrol (Ton boats) in the 70's and early 80's, I suppose the decline had already set in by then.

It is no wonder that the lads were demoralised - how on earth can you have a HoD with no relevant industry experience - Did H&W have an HR department, or were they as hacked off as the guys on the shop floor?
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Old 18th August 2019, 20:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varley View Post
Tom,

For us (not a million miles different from our involvement in Longbow - although considerably faster!) and our client, not specially over the top. The ship was a bit strange but not wildly sophisticated (diesel electric with synchronous motors, pony motor starts not electronic) and variable pitch. Kongsberg simplex DP marked the high point of her basic sophistication.
Interesting stuff David, How did you find Kongsberg as an outfit? I did some interesting work with them for the Norwegian Defence Procurement Division in 2010-13 while they were integrating some 'Kongsberg kit' into their ground air defence systems infrastructure, I worked with some serious boffins with a very different view on the world!
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  #28  
Old 19th August 2019, 12:10
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At the risk of boring those who have seen the tales on other threads (I cannot remember them all, no true bore can) I can use them to illustrate some of my prejudices. Best of all was during LNG seatrials off DSME. I suppose we could think of her as some form of hybrid between auxiliaries fully integrated or replaced('duplicated') by IAS and those simply remotely controlling the maker's kit from the IAS. A steamer, the burner management and combustion control done by Kongsberg but the turbines/manoeuvring controls very much the makers (Kawasaki).

As an example of how contactors should not be joined in the building process I offer under. One good process model is the one described "V" shaped. Well presented in a presentation on the (mis)application of IAS by LRS's Bernard Twomey, always a good man to hear.

(Before E-S jumps in that is not a plump round shaped map but one where the planning and drawings, here I would include software, are completed during the first downward stroke of the "V" with the casting into ship starting with the keel laying at the bottom ending in delivery at the top of the upward stroke).


The Kongsberg team of about five with a consultant from HO were plugged into the network with laptops, at a table arranged in the MCR. They were not simply adjusting parameters but they were 'coding' on the fly. Perhaps not unusual when sliding down the leading edge of V but we were underway on sea trials.

I have a bug bear about the lifetime of high populations of silicon WRT single failure prone essential equipment. Without claiming that it will fail in ten years I do claim that one must be budget ready to replace it if it does. Many experiences of being forced to repair kit in which the remaining semiconductor population is on another rising stroke, that of the bathtube curve, has taught me that to do so results in a higher cost and greater down time. My boss is amused to know that my doorbell defies my crystal ball. It is based on a PLC that I bought to demonstrate to colleagues what one was, in the late 80s. One swallow doth not a Summer make. I am still, as always, right.

The replacement electronics itself will be cheap. In ten years, though, it will be different and if the interface between the original and the 'ship' is not well documented then the replacement will involve engineering a new one. That will be expensive. That documentation is simply not being done (perhaps LRS have managed some improvements there I have not spoken to Bernard for some time).

The consultant on the trials kindly gave me an introduction to the kit and listened to me unravelling my spiel to a new audience. His honest agreement I now quote at the drop of a hat.

"In ten years time this system will not only be expensive to maintain, it will be fabulously expensive to maintain".

Were the fatigue life of commercial tonnage to be restricted to 10 years I would be relaxed but that isn't the standard and I forecast that we will be scrapping because of the 'fatigue' life of her silicon.

A model that I would have liked to see adopted (it was available and not too dissimilar to the Decca Isis I 'did' at Saudi Shields in the 70s) was to have a discrete alarm system like the Autronica KM series or Malling with whatever computer enhancements you could dream up claggted on the back of it.

On hearing mention of Autronica and KM the consultant told me that Kongsberg had bough Autronica and still produced a KM variant. "For out clients operating in areas where it is difficult for us to offer support". Where I wonder is more difficult than mid-pacific?

(How old was Longbow? She went to scrap with her original Autronica KM2 (?) operating fine(ish - complete drawings would have been helpful there too!).

At the specification stage of a combined LNG/Gas production vessel I included a line or two to counter this behaviour. My oppo. in the client's office was from the oil and gas production industry and I learned that there, with the same kit, they would expect it to have arrived at the 'project' having been fully tested back to back with a simulator with the expectation of a few parameter setpoint adjustments only to be made to an otherwise fully operational control and monitoring system.

I don't know about the RN but certainly merchant shipbuilding is not well served by these contractors (I am sure Kongsberg is not the only one but my experience with others is slight).

They serve public transport, nuclear and other areas under more public scrutiny, they know well how to deliver but we obviously don't present a sufficiently lucrative market.

(I would have revelled in it to have had such kit as my preserve at sea, great toys to play with and to enjoy the kudos and status of being the shaman in charge. The picture is very different from behind the office desk).

One of the most interesting little problems in our long and well watered run down to redundancy was a systems fault that occurred on a Kongsberg Datachief. It occurred after twelve years in service but was then permanent - another story I have told elsewhere but I will wait for your eyes to unglaze before I launch into that again.

(I also dislike Kongsberg's approach to redundant power supplies. The only time a UPS saves one from whatever is when one's computer can avoid the whatever without a propulsion/power plant to respond to it. Otherwise their failure risks killing the computer while the main supply is healthy and, of course, is also more likely to reveal a hidden failure to UPS when it is required to switch over).

I really do need to let you recover.
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Last edited by Varley; 19th August 2019 at 14:21.
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Old 19th August 2019, 14:15
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Thanks David, sounds familiar to me - oh for the engineers tales of woe during trials! I am however quite surprised to hear that Kongsbergs approach to Config Control on that project was so lax during the crucial V&V stages (sea trials), I noted when working with them on Norwegian GBAD and the 'Army Gateway' projects that Config control was one of their strong-points - almost to the point od obsession, this however may have been due to the customer being the Norwegian Defence Procurement Department (NDPD) - who had crafted many system requirements covering Configuration Control of the system throughout at different stages of its life-cycle into the 'Spec', most of them falling on the supplier.
I have some equally hair raising tales of other 'Euro' suppliers total and blissful ignorance of the vital importance of good config control when trying to verify the systems performance under 'locked down' test conditions.
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  #30  
Old 19th August 2019, 14:55
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I think we are both pointing at the reason. Ensure one's government gets the best attentions We'll deal with the also runs in guarantee (and if not we will be very well paid to provide ongoing support).

Having at least one other player of the same grade might improve the QC amongst those on commercial contracts.

As I said I am sure it is not only them. I was reading aloud from the logic diagram of an ethylene carrier's controls (by Flemming's - I did not grow up reading logic diagrams so the lips were moving). "Both glycol pumps must be running before the compressor can start". Overheard by a colleague who had commanded the ship concerned "David, I don't care what that diagram says the compressor can be started with only one running!". The documentation was simply without any version control (the diagrams themselves, of course, generated from the software). There may even have been no correct version as the gas plant technicians/engineers had access to change it locally.

I also have a hobby horse to do with having ETOs (or whatever we want to call them - E/O was fine with me although I was a grander ECO earlkier when there were gas turbines to play with) with certificated competence. What I do not expect of them is divination or other necromancy - how can they tend a plant if the bloody drawings are wrong?
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